Sexual fluidity, is, in essence, uncomplicated. It means sexuality isn't stagnant, that it changes over time, and across situations. But still, amid more and more celebrities coming out as sexually fluid, and the increasing visibility of LGBTQI+ individuals signal boosting to the identity, people continue to wonder: what is sexual fluidity? And this confusion, naturally, leads to some pesky myths.
"'Sexually fluid' is a chewy term, and I've found it usually takes a lot of mental energy for people to process if they try to process it at all," Logan, 23, tells Bustle. And you may not yet fully understand what it means for someone to identify as sexually fluid, but you likely at least know of someone who does. Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Nyle DiMarco, and Nick Tortorella (of Younger) all identify as fluid. In 2016, model Cara Delevigne told Vogue "We're all liquid. We change, we grow."
And while it obviously doesn't take a celebrity to validate an identity, it does help to know that sexual fluidity is everywhere. So it's time everyone starts listening to those with differing identities.
For starters, Bustle reached out to six individuals who identify as sexually fluid. "At the end of the day, I feel uncomfortable picking one label to describe myself because none of them are accurate since I am always changing," Liv, 22 tells Bustle. "Humans are dynamic beings with beautiful complicated brains, so it only makes sense that sexuality can be fluid as well!" To encourage being dynamic and celebrating others, it's good to start with busting some myths. It's a great first step in understanding people for how they are (and maybe understanding yourself a bit better, too).
Here are six myths about sexual fluidity that need to be busted, according to sexually fluid people.
Logan, 23: You Don't Owe The World An Explanation
"While I usually care that the closest people in my life understand that I don't express myself along trinary lines (straight/bi/gay), it can feel just as empowering to relieve myself of the responsibility to 'enlighten' every person I meet. Even though I still enjoy sex with women, I prefer it with men, so if I label myself 'gay' in select public situations for the sake of simplicity, that doesn't mean I need to harp on myself for betraying my true identity."
Ericka, 30: You Don't Have To "Look" Like Your Orientation
"There are people, including myself, who may appear to be a particular sexual orientation; but have experienced various attractions and desires with people outside of the rules of my sexual orientation. I would also like to note that sexual fluidity is not just with women, men experience it as well. Without homophobia and biphobia, I feel a lot more men would be willing to discuss their experiences with sexual fluidity."
Helen, 25: Sexually Fluid People Don't Exist To Spice Up Your Sex Life
"The myth of the 'sexually fluid unicorn' needs to be busted once and for all. Meaning, a sexually fluid person — often female — is sought after to 'spice up' a straight relationship. It's the reason I don't use online dating apps anymore. I was tired of so many messages from straight, cisgender men looking for me to help their relationship with their female partner not because they were interested in me, but because my profile listed that I was interested in more than one gender. It's exhausting. Sexually fluid people are more than a means to an end — we're looking for connection too."
Carol, 60: Sexually Fluid People Aren't Attracted To Everyone
"[One myth is that] potential attraction to more than one sort of person equals sexual attraction to everyone! I have had people (mainly guys but not exclusively) who act like my sexual 'difference' is just a euphemism for sex mania and openness to each and everyone, but mainly to them. And while my personal definition of sexual fluidity certainly involves being super-interested in sex and curious about all variations, someone assuming I'm DTF simply because of my identity is such a turn-off, really insulting, and frankly ignorant ... I think a lot of us move around the Kinsey scale or find ourselves more or less sexually charged at different points. But this can lead others to be judgmental and exclusionary."
Zoé, 27: Nothing Is "Missing" When A Fluid Person Settles Down With Someone
"[One myth is that] people identifying as sexually fluid will always feel like something is missing in their relationship (the nature of this relationship is irrelevant) — i.e. when with a woman, they’ll fantasize or seek men, or when with a man, they’ll fantasize or seek women ... Personally, I don’t miss men when I’m with a woman, nor do miss women when I’m with a man. I’m with a human being that I like or love, and that’s enough for me. The sole assumption that this myth is true is frustrating and invasive. Everybody has their rights to their feelings. Don’t we all just want to feel loved? Isn’t that enough?"
Regardless of how you choose to identify (or not to, if labels aren't your thing), you deserve to live free of stigma, whether it be in public, at home, or even online. Ericka, 30, also told Bustle, "I hope more people will become accepting of sexual fluidity and allow others, or even themselves, to become open about their possibilities." So starting to explore your own preconceived notions, along with your feelings, could be a first step to something really good.